The Buzz

January 14, 2014

STATE HOUSE: UPDATE + VIDEO: Bobby Harrell said Attorney General Wilson 'intended to inflict political damage'

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, doubled down Tuesday on his request for the S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson to release the SLED report detailing findings of an investigation into Harrell, and called the timing of news that a grand jury would review the case a move "intended to inflict political damage to me."

"I also don't believe that it is a coincidence that this release was made on the eve of the legislative session. I believe it was intended to inflict political damage to me. However, the facts still are that I have not broken the law."

Full video of Harrell's press conference below.

Harrell made the comments to news media Tuesday morning, an hour before the House reconvenes for the year's legislative session.

Read Tuesday morning's story about Wilson's statement that he sent the allegations to the state grand jury.

Wilson's office released news Monday that a state grand jury would investigate possible alleged ethics violations that state law enforcement officials had been reviewing since February.

The ethics allegations, which Ashley Landess, president of the S.C. Policy Council filed in a complaint to Wilson's office last year, include that Harrell may have broken state law when he reimbursed himself from his campaign account for flying her personal plane on state business.

Asked what motive Wilson would have to "inflict political damage" on him, Harrell provided no answer, referring reporters to Wilson's office.

Wilson's spokesman, Mark Powell, said "This is an ongoing criminal investigation before the state grand jury. It is inappropriate for us to comment."

"As for the result of a report, it would be unlawful for our office or SLED to release any report in any ongoing criminal investigation," Powell said.

Harrell said he was "blindsided" by Wilson's release Monday.

"Both the (Attorney General's) office and SLED have continuously reassured me and my attorneys that they found nothing that concerned them. I fully expected that any day now there would be a release from the (Attorney General's) office saying the investigation was over and there was no factual reason to pursue it any further."

Harrell said he had cooperated fully with investigators and was able to produce all information they requested.

Asked by The State if he were aware of any records, business or personal, or testimony by people Harrell knew that investigators sought that could not be provided, Harrell said no.

Reporters pushed Harrell to provide them with the documents he sent to SLED, but he said he would not -- instead, calling for SLED to release the report publicly.

Check back for details.

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